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Staying at Rocky Crest Golf Resort

Tucked away on the beautiful shores of Lake Joseph, Rocky Crest Golf Resort is the perfect Muskoka resort to sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings.  One of Ontario’s premier lakefront resorts sitting on the shores of Lake Joseph makes for an ideal family vacation, romantic getaway, golf weekend with friends, spa outing, destination wedding and conference location.  Rocky Crest has spacious suites, multiple restaurants offering something for every taste, a modern Canadian golf course, and so much more all in the heart of Ontario’s favourite cottage country playground, Muskoka.

Here is our experience staying at Rocky Crest Golf Resort!

The Rooms

Every room at Rocky Crest is a suite style with a kitchenette that includes a microwave, mini refrigerator, sink, coffee maker and kettle.  Each suite also includes flat screen TV’s, air conditioning, a fireplace and much more.  We checked into a one-bedroom suite with a king bed and could not have asked for a better room! This was perfect for two people thanks to its massive bedroom with ensuite bathroom, cozy sitting area with a second flat screen tv and a fireplace with an adjoining kitchen.  Rocky Crest has 16 of these one-bedroom suites with king beds and another 5 one-bedrooms suites with two double beds.

If you are looking for something with a bit more room, make sure to check out the 14 two-bedroom loft suites which include a queen bed in the master bedroom and a double in the second bedroom, along with two bathrooms.

If you need even more space, there are also two-bedroom suites available that have a king bed in the master and two double beds in the second bedroom.  There are 30 of these rooms available and are a perfect fit for a family looking for their own space without feeling like crowded.


Where to Eat & Drink

Rocky Crest Golf Resort is home to three different dining options for all different occasions and tastes.

Bayside Patio & Lounge – The Bayside Patio & Lounge offers a casual dining experience with a nautical decor and stunning views of Lake Joseph and the Rocky Crest grounds.  The patio is a very popular spot for some afternoon drinks for both local boaters and resort-goers alike.  If you are looking for a place to relax, watch the boats go by and enjoy the nice weather, then Bayside Patio & Lounge is the place to go!

Windows – Windows is a fine dining experience in a traditional Muskoka setting.  With a Canadian inspired menu and incredible views of Lake Joseph, this is an experience not to be missed.  Make sure to try some of the best steak and seafood the area has to offer.  If you are looking for a place to enjoy your dinner while the sun sets beyond the horizon, this is the place to be.  Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time to guarantee yourself a window seat!

On The Green – On The Green is not located on the Rocky Crest Resort side with the lodging but instead its found across the street at the Rocky Crest Golf Club.  Situated on the stunning 18th green of Rocky Crest Golf Club this relaxed dining experience offers seating both inside the Muskoka log cabin clubhouse and on the patio where you can watch the golfers finish their game.  Make sure to take a walk over here for a meal, you will not be disappointed!


What To Do At Rocky Crest

With so many activity options to do at Rocky Crest, you could easily spend days here doing them all and enjoying the resort!

The Pools – There are two outdoor heated pools, one with breathtaking views of Lake Joseph, and the other a salt water pool that is tucked away in the Armishaw Recreation Area. The salt water pool is often less busy and very peaceful.  There is also an outdoor hottub right next to the main pool deck that is perfect for a sunset soak.

The Beach & Water Toys – The beach on Lake Joseph is something you must experience and enjoy while visiting the resort.  Both sand as well as a dock are available to sit back, relax and enjoy the sun.  In addition to the beach there is an inflatable waterpark that includes a trampoline, a jungle gym and slides that are fun for all ages!  The toys are available from June to September.

Sports on the Resort – There are many different sporting options on the resort including beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, tennis, a billiards table and much more!  All the equipment is provided by either the Armishaw Recreation Area or Lake Joseph waterfront area.

Boat Rentals – Rocky Crest provides complimentary use of non-motorized watercrafts including canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.  These can be signed out at the Armishaw Recreation Area & Lake Joseph Waterfront.

Hiking – There are a number of trails right on the resort property that you can hike and explore the full extent of the resort.  Maps are available at the Guest Services Desk or Recreation Department at the Armishaw Recreation Area.

Bonfires at Dusk – Every Friday and Saturday from May-June & September-October and daily in July & August, Rocky Crest has a bonfire pit where you will find the fire roaring after dusk that comes along with complimentary marshmallows to complete the full campfire experience!

Golf – This beautiful golf course situated in the heart of Muskoka will both wow you with its views on each hole as well as challenge your skills.  The premiere Ontario golf course is a Clublink property and if you enjoy a nice game of golf this is something you should not miss out on.

 

Staying at the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market

One of Ottawa’s newest hotels on the scene, The Andaz Hotel,  is the perfect spot to stay during your visit to Ottawa.  Located right in the downtown core, steps to Byward Market and Parliament, you couldn’t get a better location than this!

Here is my experience staying at the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market!

The Rooms

Beautiful spacious guest rooms filled with natural light and stunning views of Gatineau Hills, historic buildings, the Byward Market, and Parliament in the background.  I checked into a deluxe room with a King bed, a cozy living room area perfect for relaxing or doing some work, and a beautiful view of the Byward Market and the Parliament Buildings looming in the background.

 

With 200 rooms in the hotel there are many room options to choose from, including standard rooms, deluxe, rooms with a view, and suites.  All rooms are modern with a Canadian flare, including nice touches like local artwork and contemporary furnishings.

One of my favourite touches in the rooms was that all non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in the mini bar are complimentary and replenished daily.

Each floor on the hotel is designed to reflect the rich history and character of the Canadian provinces and territories through the artwork and decorations. Make sure to visit each floor for the full experience!


Food & Drink

The Andaz plays host to a Canadian cuisine restaurant, lobby lounge, and rooftop bar.  Each of these spaces to eat and drink offer a unique local experience.

Feast + Revel: This Canadian inspired restaurant with new Canadian cuisine featuring local, organic and sustainable products is a must visit while staying at the Andaz.  The open kitchen, high ceilings, and bright open windows invite guests to come to the long 14 foot central table and truly feast and revel.  From the appetizers to the desserts you will not be disappointed with the selection available on the menu.

Copper Spirits & Sights: Head to the 16th floor of the Andaz to experience Copper Spirits & Sights and take in one of the best views in the city.  This rooftop patio bar is boasts premium lounge seating, incredible views of Parliament and the Byward Market.  They have seating both inside and outside depending on your preference but regardless the view is one that cannot be beat.


Things To Do

With the Byward market steps outside the doors of the Andaz, and Parliament not much further away, all of downtown Ottawa is at your fingertips so you will always find something to do.

Explore the Historic Byward Market

Visit the historic Byward Market, established in 1826, this market remains one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets in the country.  You will be treated to local vendors selling anything from baked goods, homemade items and much more.

Explore Inspiration Village 

Inspiration Village is one of Ottawa’s newest areas for entertainment.  Located on York Street just around the corner from the Byward Market, this village is home to special exhibits, performing art events, and exhibits for each of the provinces.  The village is only temporary and is open daily noon to 8PM until September 4, 2017.  The village is free to visit and fun for all ages.

Take a Tour of the Parliament Buildings

Ottawa is the nation’s capital and home to the beautiful parliament buildings which are free to explore!  Take a guided tour of Centre Block, explore the Peace Tower, Memorial Chamber, or stroll through on your own to discover the monuments that are found all across the grounds.

Looking for even more to do? Check out our list of 15 free things to do in Ottawa during the summer!

Why You Need to Visit Georgian Bay

Ontario encompasses over one-fifth of the worlds fresh water with its 250,000 lakes.  These waterways play a key part in the history and development of the province through the means of transportation for early explorers, a source of food and influencing where towns would be built. Next to the five great lakes, Georgian Bay is the largest body of water in Ontario and is often considered the sixth great lake.

One of our favourite places to explore, photograph and enjoy is beautiful Georgian Bay.  With its 30,000 islands and 2,000 kilometers of shoreline, this large bay has many popular areas and hidden gems.  Georgian Bay has everything from beautiful white sand beaches, hiking trails, island camping, boating, picturesque lighthouses and so much more.

Less than a two hour drive from Toronto, Georgian Bay lets you see another side of Ontario.  Here you will leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and enter a place of wind-swept pines, waves crashing up onto the Canadian Shield, small and large cottages dotting the lake and the 30,000 islands.

Here’s what you’ll experience while visiting Georgian Bay! 

The Cities Surrounding The Bay

Many areas of Georgian Bay along the shoreline can be accessed from the road.  This includes Collingwood, Midland, Parry Sound, French River, Killarney and Tobermory to name a few. Tobermory and Collingwood have a steady stream of tourism to the areas with their great attractions such as the Bruce Peninsula National Park and Blue Mountain.  Other towns such as Midland and Petetanguishene are less frequently visited by tourists, but have a lot to offer.

To drive around all of Georgian Bay it is 1285km drive including a ferry crossing at the northern end that connects you between Manitoulin Island and Tobermory.  This drive can be done in as little as 2-3 days or leisurely take up to 15 days to enjoy and immerse yourself in this beautiful area.  To drive to some of the destination cities or do the entire loop either way you will not be disappointed in what you see as with each new bend in the road there is a different view of the Bay and beautiful Ontario.


 

Boating on Georgian Bay

Although there are many great destinations that you can access around the perimeter shoreline of Georgian Bay, some of the best destinations are on the many islands throughout the bay. Most of these islands are accessible by boat in the summer and many can even be accessed by snowmobile throughout the winter months.

Our two most visited islands for both the summer and winter months are Giants Tomb and Beckwith, each of which are a short trip from Midland / Honey Harbour by boat or snowmobile. Both islands offer great day trip destinations in the summer and winter months and allow you to explore the perimeter on the water / ice or head into the island and explore the islands on foot.

Giants Tomb takes the shape of a sleeping giant and native legend has it that the giant God Kitchikewana laid to eternal rest here after creating Georgian Bay. The island is a great destination for day trips, great swimming and camping on the beach.  During the winter months when the bay freezes over, a series of natural ice caves can be found on the West side and is popular amongst snowmobilers. The actual size of the ice caves can vary each year as they are caused by the waves freezing as they crash into the island.

Located just beyond Giants Tomb, Beckwith is a boater’s paradise.  Thanks to it’s sandy bottom, this island has crystal clear water and long beaches. There is no development on the island except for a simple outhouse to serve boaters, campers and picnickers. The island provides you with everything you need to spend the day or night in complete tranquility.  This is a popular destination for us on weekends to relax on the beach and swim in the warm waters of Georgian Bay.  One of our favourite moments is when the boat pulls up to the island and the bay transforms into clear turquoise waters – This is one of the few places you will find clear water like this on Georgian Bay.


One of the best things about Georgian Bay is that it is ever changing with beautiful landscapes and new adventures around each corner. From day trips to week long adventures, Georgian Bay has something to offer everyone. If you get the change stay out late, watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out as it is a sight you will not soon forget.

Georgian Bay is beautiful in every season so if you are looking for a weekend adventure anytime throughout the year take a drive to one of the many beautiful towns along the bay.

Hopefully we will see you on Georgian Bay!

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park has been on our list of must do hikes for quite sometime, especially in the fall when the leaves change colour. The park is located in the small town of Mono located Northeast of Orangeville, Ontario.

There is a per vehicle park fee of $14.50 payable at a pay-and-display machine in the parking lot.  You will also be able to find the washrooms there before you start your hike.  This is a day use only park that is open year round.

There are 8 hikes that you can choose from throughout the park that range from 600 meters to 4.8 km.

We started off hiking down the Carriage Trail that takes you through fields full milk weed plants that were blowing in the wind, and hundreds of trees letting go of their leaves for the Fall.  There were few people in the park that day which make for a very peaceful hike.

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Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is located on 750-hectarces of land and features 30-meter cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, ponds and streams.  The Bruce Trail connects through this park as well.  As you leave the meadow and enter the thick forest full of colourful falling leaves, you pass some ponds and then head up a set of stairs.  Once up the stairs, the Carriage Trail ends and gives way to the Cliff-Top Side Trail which you can either go North or South.  When we visited, we opted to go north towards the viewing platform.  The walk towards the viewing platform was stunning as the orange and yellow leaves had covered the trails and there wasn’t another person in sight.

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Once we reached the viewing platform we were not disappointed with the view! It overlooks one of the large ponds in the area and provides a great view from the top of the escarpment.

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If you continue to head North on the Cliff-Top Side Trail you will come to three way split where you have an option to go on the McCarston’s Lake Trail, Walter Tovell Train or the Link Trail – We choose to head down the stairs to the Link Trail. To our surprise as we headed down the stairs we found ourselves in-between two pieces of the escarpment and felt like we were entering a cave.

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Between the colours of the leaves and the rocks it was quite a sight to see.  The wooden boardwalk takes you through the escarpment and explains the various efforts of the park to keep it in a natural state by trying to educate those visiting the park with display panels and interpretive signs.  Unfortunately, as we got to the end of the boardwalk we found the Link Trail was closed as they were trying to preserve some of the land on the trail. We ended up turning around and headed back the way we came on the Walter Tovell Trail.

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The Walter Tovell Trail meets up with Spillway Trail which would return us to the Carriage Trail to complete our loop for the day.  We choose to take that route as the sun was beginning to set for the day.  Once back on the Carriage Trail you return back to the meadow and from there you are only a short walk back to the parking lot.

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Throughout our walk we were privy to learn about the many species of animals and plants that live in the park.  There are over 450 species of plants, and some of the trees found throughout the park are hundreds of years old.  Taking a hike through Mono Cliffs Provincial Park as the trees are losing their leaves provides a unique perspective through it’s untouched land that is so close to such a largely developed area of of the province.

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Exploring Elora Gorge

It is amazing how Ontario has so many beautiful places to visit, Elora being one of them. The enchanting village of Elora is one of Ontario’s most picturesque areas with its rolling hills and Mennonite farmland contrasted by the breathtaking Elora Gorge. With its 80 foot limestone cliffs and both the Grand and Irvine Rivers rushing through it, the gorge is one of Elora’s most popular tourist destinations.

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The best place to visit the gorge is in Elora Gorge Conservation Area.  The conservation area costs six dollars per person to enter and use their facilities. This includes access to all the hiking trails, splashpad, fishing and their general day use area.

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There are three kilometers of hiking trails throughout the conservation area that offer different views of the gorge.  The trails take you to several scenic lookouts including Hole in the Rock.  The trail also takes you to the top of a staircase that appears to vanish deep into the ground.  This stairway takes you down into Hole in the Rock where it is believed that the First Nations people of the area, the Neutral Indians, cashed their wampum belts.  A wampum belt is made of channeled whelk shells and quahog or hard-shelled clam.  These belts were used as a form of gift exchange as well as a form of currency.
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From Hole in the Rock you continue down the trail following around the top of the gorge.  There are fences to stop you from going too close to the edge as it is a steep drop!

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A great spot to check out is down by the tubing launch area.  Here for $25 you can ride the gorge on a tube for 2km down the river.  If you are not looking for an adventurous ride you can also walk along shore of the gorge taking in the beauty from the bottom of the limestone cliffs.

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Another activity that you can do at Elora Gorge is canoeing or kayaking.  The 300 kilometer stretches of the Grand River are suitable for paddlers of all levels.  White-water enthusiasts are drawn to the gorge with various access points throughout the river and the sections of white-water rapids.

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After completing all three easy kilometers of the hiking trails that the Elora Gorge Conservation area has to offer, we headed off into town to find the access point to the bottom of the gorge where we could view the historic David Street Bridge.  The bridge was constructed in 1867 by local stonemasons over several years. Late in 1875 a new bridge was constructed on the same location using the same pier.  Subsequently, new bridges were built again on the same pier in 1921 and then again in 2004.

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Both pier and bridge have become one of the many landmarks of the village of Elora.  What makes this bridge unique is that it is a rare example of an open-spandrel concrete arch bridge.

Getting down to the bottom of this gorge took a bit of asking around to find the best access point without having to hike several kilometers.  We found that if you drive into the town and head to Victoria Park (also called Lovers Leap Park) and head right from the parking lot you will find a set of old concrete stairs.

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Watch your step as you go down these uneven steps.  Once at the bottom continue to head down the cliff of the gorge (running shoes are suggested) and you will reach the water.  Once you are down at the river you will be able to see the David Street Bridge on your right.

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You can easily walk down some of the submerged rocks along the shoreline to get closer to the bridge.  As you walk towards the bridge there were two large looking caves on the south side.

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Hiking down to the bottom of the gorge to visit the bridge is a must do on your trip to Elora.

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This village very much has still kept its old world charm.  Walking the streets of the village with its original stone buildings from the 1800’s makes you feel like you have taken a step back in time.  There are some great galleries, gift shops, studios and great restaurants that have made Elora the perfect place to visit in any season.

Killarney Provincial Park

Ever wanted to remove yourself from the busy hustle and bustle of the city and go somewhere really remote?  Well then you will find that Killarney Provincial Park is exactly what you are looking for.  Killarney park, also called ‘The Jewel of Ontario’, is one of Canada’s most beautiful parks. A beautiful five hour drive from Toronto will take you through the Canadian Shield and what feels like country road driving while still remaining on paved roads.  Your last hour of the drive is very peaceful on Highway 637, the only road in and out of Killarney.  Make sure you keep your eyes out for fox, deer and even black bears as they are known to be out at all hours of the day.

 

Here is our experience at camping at Killarney Provincial Park!

Getting to Killarney Provincial Park

Located only five hours north of Toronto you head up the 400 to to Highway 69 until you need to take a left down ON-637 where you will spend the last hour on and off paved and gravol roads heading into Killarney.  Once you turn down On-637 there is only one gas station and convenience store along the road until you hit the town of Killarney so make sure you have a full tank of gas and some snacks!

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Killarney Provincial Park is located 10 km before the town of Killarney on the right hand side of the highway.


Killarney Provincial Park – George Lake Campground

We managed to book a stunning campsite in Killarney Provincial Park that was right on the lake (Site 87)!  The site was a bit windy at night with a storm coming off of the lake, but the view was worth it!  If you ever get a chance to book a site on the waterfront, this is the way to go.  If you are planning on booking a site in Killarney, you will have to plan well in advance as they only have just over 100 drive in campsites and another 180 back-country canoe access sites.  The majority of the front country campground sites have a decent amount of privacy and are all within walking distance to both the bathrooms and the lake.

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The first thing you need to do upon arriving in Killarney Provincial Park once you arrive at your campsite is lock up all your food,  toiletries, and anything that may attract animals.  The bears, deer, and the raccoons will wander through your site at any time of day.  If you are like us and sometimes travel with the roof and doors off on our Jeep, Ontario Parks will happily provide you with a bear-proof box that is big enough to fit a cooler and lots more.  Despite us locking up the majority of our stuff, a raccoon managed to find the one item that we left in the tent and pestered us all night to find more!

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What to do in and around Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney is home to some of the most beautiful hiking in the area, so we took to the trails to explore.  We parked the Jeep in town and then hiked out to the Killarney East Lighthouse.  The lighthouse rests on rock 30 feet above Georgian Bay and provides incredible views.

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On our way hiking back into town we decided we would stay there for dinner and check out the downtown main street.  Killarney was founded in 1820 as a fur trading post on Georgian Bay.
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We had dinner at the Mountain Lodge and sat out on the bar deck and watched the sun go down.  One of our favourite spots for watching the sunset is down on the docks by the Mountain Lodge.  The way the sun reflects on the bay makes for some great photos!

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The drive back to the provincial park from the town is only about 10 minutes into the park gates. Although chilly, George Lake offers a nice refreshing swim with a sandy bottom at the shore.  We were able to walk right from our site into the water for a refreshing night swim before bed.  If you enjoy stargazing, this is the ideal place with very little light pollution allowing you to see thousands of stars from your campsite.

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Chris and I explored all of the drive in campsites as we walked around to see if we could get an idea of where we would like to camp next year when we come back.  Killarney offers great sites with close proximity to the bathrooms and a short drive to the main bathhouses.  Next time I would explore the back-country lots as there are 645 square kilometres of the park to be explored for those willing to paddle their way into those remote areas.

Top 5 Things to Do in Killarney

The historic village of Killarney welcomes over 100,000 visitors each year, and it is no surprise why.  With its magnificent landscapes that inspired the Group of Seven artists, the spectacular provincial park is considered the ‘Jewel of the Ontario Parks system’.  With the oldest community on the North Shore covering just over 1500 square-km of rugged Canadian shield and the provincial park covering an additional 645 square-km, this area offers a unique opportunity for all kinds of visitors and activities. These might include avid kayakers and canoers, both drive-in and back country camping, boating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, fantastic hiking trails, and more.  The village of Killarney is located just 10 km from Killarney Provincial Park and offers a variety of lodging and great food for all tastes.

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Here are the top five activities to experience in Killarney

— HIKE THE KILLARNEY LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL —

This Lighthouse Trail begins on the east side of the entrance to Killarney Mountain Lodge.  The hike itself is about 5km round trip and is not a loop so you will be returning on the same path you hiked out on.  This hike provides hikers with an unforgettable view of open water Georgian Bay and its rugged pink granite shoreline.  The trail winds you through a mixed forest of pine, red maple and spruce.  Once you reach the base of Mount East you are only a short climb to the top to the scenic view of the bay and far off islands.  As you continue down the path you will get a chance to view the coves created by the last ice age and the iconic lighthouse located on the point of Killarney.  Once you reach the lighthouse you are treated with a breathtaking view of the north shore of Georgian Bay.  This lighthouse dates back to 1866 where Killarney residents operated the lighthouse each night and they did so until 1980 when the lighthouse became fully automated.

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If you are in a rush and do not have 2-3 hours to do the hike, you can also drive in most of the way to the lighthouse – leaving you with only a quick climb up the rocks to see the lighthouse and viewpoints. To get here, you travel East along Ontario Street until you reach the end of the road – take your time as the road is in rough shape and can be slippery if there has been a recent rain fall.  Make sure to watch for hikers travelling along the side of the road.

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— HIKE THE CRACK TRAIL —

The Crack Trail begins 7km outside the provincial park in a small parking lot that is marked by a small sign with two diamonds.  The Crack is the most difficult hike in the area and is a 6km round trip with suggested time of 3-4 hours to complete.  This is not a looped trail as if you continue going past the crack itself you will end up on a 7-10 day hiking trail through the La Cloche Mountains.  This hike starts off on an old logging road that is level and easily navigated for 1.5km until joining up with La Cloche Silhouette Trail at which point becomes much more rugged.

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Beyond Kakakaise Lake, the trail becomes incredibly steep and more rugged as the forest starts to disappear and gives way to the exposed quartzite outcrops and cliffs that dominate the area.  Once you reach the top, you will experience the iconic Killarney views of the glacial lakes shimmering under the blue skys framed by the La Cloche Mountains and age old pine forests.  This is a place you do not want to forget your camera – this will be a view you won’t want to forget.

— Relax in the Killarney Mountain Lodge Carousel Lounge —

The Killarney Mountain Lodge recently upgraded their already beautiful lodge and made this unique octogonal lounge into a chic place to stop in for a drink and appetizer.  Between the comfy couches, the panoramic view of the marina and the great service, make sure you stop in for a cocktail.  The extensive food and drink menu allows for a full sit down dinner or a quick drink or bite before heading off on your next adventure.  None the less, make sure to stop in at the Mountain Lodge as it is a staple in the village of Killarney.

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  — SPEND A NIGHT IN KILLARNEY PROVINCIAL PARK —

Killarney Provincial Park is the crown jewel on the Ontario Parks and it is a must see if you are making the trek into this area.  The dramatic landscapes inspired the Group of Seven to paint many beautiful paintings of the surrounding area.  With only 126 drive in campsites, make sure to book your reservations well ahead of time.  The park is one of Ontarios most popular wilderness destinations, and its limited facilities offer visitors a chance to experience the solitude and beauty of this undisturbed natural setting.  The park is an outdoor enthusiasts playground with spectacular hiking trails, beautiful clear lakes to canoe or kayak on, wildlife watching, star gazing and so much more.  Killarney sees over 100,000 overnight visitors a year with an additional 40,000+ day visitors to the park each year, and when you get a chance to visit you will understand why this one of a kind park is such a special place in Ontario.

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— GO ON A KAYAK OR CANOE TRIP —

One of the most popular activities to do in Killarney Provincial Park besides hiking is canoing or kayaking.  The park offers numerous canoe routes that give you access to areas of the park interior that you can only reach by water.  The routes vary from a weekend paddle to up to two weeks, depending on your pace.  The interior canoe routes include portages which can be several kilometers long with often significant elevation gain.  Before you head out, make sure you choose a route that matches your skill set and objectives for the trip.  Here is a list of the routes that are available:

  • Bell David Lake Loop (2 Days)
  • Carlyle-Killarney Lake Loop (2 Days)
  • George – Norway Lake Loop (2-3 Days)
  • Nellie Lake Loop (2-3 Days)
  • George Lake to Baie Fine (3 Days)
  • Charlton-Cat Lake Loop (4 Day)
  • George Threenarrows Lake Loop (4 Days)
  • Bell-Threenarrows Lake Loop (4-5 Days)
  • Bell Lake-Baie Fine Loop (6-7 Days)
  • Charlton-Great Mountain Lake Loop (7-8 Days)
  • North Boundary Loop (9-10 Days)

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All of these routes are well laid out and described in detail in the Killarney Provincial Park Canoe Guide which includes maps.  Often on these routes you will find yourself on your own with nature and for that reason it is truly is a wilderness park that makes it one of the most popular canoeing and kayaking destinations in Ontario.

Visiting Grundy Lake Provincial Park

 

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Driving up Highway 69 through the winding roads of the Muskokas while the sun was setting was a perfect way for us to begin our adventure to Grundy Lake Provincial Park for the weekend.  For the group of 10 people who joined us for the weekend, it was everyone’s first time visiting Grundy Lake Provincial Park and for some a first time camping.

Grundy Lake Provincial Park was established in 1959 and has very spacious campground facilities, back country canoeing and camping, hiking trails, fishing and swimming.  The park stretches across four inland lakes with 6 beaches- Grundy, Gurd, Gut, and Clear lake.  There are 475 campsites that are split among nine campgrounds – of those, 138 have hydro.

The drive to Grundy Lake Provincial Park from Toronto is approximately three and a half hours in good traffic and once you get onto Highway 69 it is a peaceful drive as you are treated to the winding roads through the Canadian Shield.  The park is well marked on the highway and is a short distance once you turn onto Highway 522.

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We booked into the Balsam Campground as we wanted to be a little more secluded from the main traffic area and was walking distance to the beach.

We were in campsites 844 & 845 which connected to each other with little trees in the way which was great for a group!  We found that you had to be strategic with the placement of your tents as there was a lot of Canadian shield across both sites.  Other than the rocks it was a great spot! Our sites were a 5 minute walk to the beach and there was a well-maintained outhouse with a regular flush-toilet one camp site away.

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Grundy Lake is known to have bears that roam through the camp site.  Some tips for camping amongst bears:

  • Make sure your site is always clean especially when you leave.
  • Store ALL food and wildlife attractants in animal-proof containers – Provincial Parks often offer bear proof boxes they can drop off at your site.  If you do not have access to this place in a secure vehicle.  If these are not options, hang your food and garbage high in the trees.
  • Always put your food in your car at night – Never leave it in your tent or bears and raccoons may try to find their way in.
  • Don’t pack perfumes or scented soaps as these items can also attract animals to your tent.
  • Keep your fire pit clean and free of food residue.
  • Always keep your pets on leash.

We were fortunate enough not to run into any bears ourselves, but we heard there was a fair bit of activity from them during our time in the park.

Hiking in the provincial parks is a favourite past time of mine.  This time we choose to do the Swan Lake Trail, which is a 1.5km loop just before sunset.  This was an easy hike to do and made for some beautiful photos!grundy-lake-9grundy-lake-7grundy-lake-13 grundy-lake-16grundy-lake-17

Later in the evening once the sun had slipped beyond the horizon, our group decided to head down to the beach for a night swim and some fun with light-painting.

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Grundy Lake is often a forgotten provincial parks, but the benefit is that there are normally campsites available throughout the summer even on long weekends. This beautiful park should not be overlooked, and if you have the opportunity to check it out you’ll find that it is worth the drive.  Grundy Lake offers what many parks cannot offer in the Muskoka region – large sites, quiet campsites, uncrowded beaches, and is rarely sold out.